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Jaguar XJ

XJ350 XJ Mk3

Jaguar logo1 Jul 2003

By CHRIS HARRIS

Underneath the third-generation Jaguar XJ’s familiar exterior lurked one of the most technologically advanced vehicles available – as well as the best car to ever come out of the company, period.

The last work from the late designer Geoff Lawson, the big Jag, released here in July 2003, was lovingly true to the best that any previous XJ could offer visually – except that it was about 20 per cent larger in all directions.

Ingenuity abounded everywhere. The aluminium body was a big step forward, bestowing the rear-drive, air-suspended sedan lightness and a litheness that lived up to the marque’s name.

Engines were developments of the AJ-V8s launched in 1997 – a 196kW/345Nm 3.6-litre DOHC 32V V8, 224kW/420Nm 4.2 V8 and its supercharged 298kW/553Nm 4.2 counterpart, with all paired to a new ZF six-speed automatic gearbox.

Jaguar also resurrected the famous XJ6 badge in March 2004, using the X and S-Type’s 179kW/300Nm 3.0-litre V6 and six-speed auto combination, to show the benefits of the XJ’s lightweight engineering.

And inside there was more room than ever, especially when the long-wheelbase 4.2 V8s came along in early ’05 – as well as technology galore. Items like Bluetooth connectivity, active cruise control, satellite navigation and heated seats all round, to name just a few, were available.

Yet you’d never necessarily know it by the overwhelmingly traditional appearance that blinds people to the Jaguar’s sheer modernity.

Little wonder then that buyers were bored, particularly as the advent of the radical 2001 BMW 7 Series and the modern sleekness of the second-generation Audi A8 gave them the confidence to expect something fresh and new.

For 2007 JAGUAR has joined Audi (and beaten Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus) in offering a diesel version of its biggest and most expensive passenger sedan .

Priced at $154,900 ($5000 more than 3.0-litre petrol V6-powered XJ6 but a big $25,000 less than the long-wheelbase XJ8, which is motivated by a 4.2-litre petrol V8), the XJ6D is fitted with the same engine that became available in the S-Type large sedan last year.

In the aluminium-bodied XJ6D, the new 2.7-litre twin-turbo Diesel develops 152kW and 435Nm of torque to offer 0-100km/h acceleration in 8.2 seconds and average fuel consumption of 8.1 seconds. That makes it slightly slower but slightly more frugal than the forthcoming S320 CDI. Top speed is 235km/h.

Apart from its industry-first electronically-controlled active engine mounts, which are claimed cancel 90 per cent of engine vibration at idle and best-in-class refinement, the engine features a Catalysed Diesel Particulate Filter (CDPF) and meets Euro IV emissions requirements.

As with all XJs, the diesel features electronically-controlled self-levelling air suspension and Jaguar’s Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) variable damping as standard.

The XJD also comes with the same acoustic laminated glass that will become standard across the XJ range when a largely cosmetically upgraded 2008 model range arrives later this

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